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Shanghai prepares for launch of wide-ranging food safety platform

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock
China’s commercial capital will soon use an “exhaustive food safety management platform” to monitor the activities of its food businesses.

The information system will take and analyse complaints from the public, while also incorporating a dozen current systems that cover areas from licensing and supervision to punishment and inspections, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration announced.

Data will be assessed and shared between a number of local and regional authorities, according to SFDA director Yang Jingsong, and will be used to inform policymaking in response to areas of food safety that are found in need of closer attention.

The system, commissioned by the food authority, has taken three years to design and is currently under final evaluation prior to its official launch.

Central to the platform will be a food tracking system which can provide planting, transportation and information for food products, which will be accessed by consumers and officials.

It will be loaded with data from more than 28,000 local registered food companies, including some 110m snippets of information “from the farm to the dining table​”, the SFDA said.

The tracking system, operated by a state-owned contractor, includes real-time monitoring on the collection, transport and treatment of used kitchen oil.

In the next step, the FDA will include more agricultural products from out of Shanghai and imported products into the tracking system​,” Yang said in a report to municipal legislators.

In addition, consumers will soon be able to check through their smartphones the production processes of products they have purchased. A trial operation has begun at some school canteens, food delivery companies, medium and large hotels, and chain restaurants, Yang said.

As part of a raft of changes to municipal supervision, surveillance cameras will be installed in more of the city’s restaurants and food manufacturers’ premises.

Over 80% of firms handling dairy, meat and vegetable oil production have had cameras installed for real-time supervision of their operations.

And local restaurants will be encouraged to install glass walls in their kitchens so they can display their cooking processes to consumers. 

More intelligent supervision, such as face recognition, temperature monitoring and risk alerting, is also planned to be applied to the kitchens by the SFDA.

More from China…

Indian chemicals firm buys majority stake in Chinese vanillin specialist

Camlin Fine Sciences has acquired a majority stake in Ningbo Wanglong Flavours and Fragrances, which specialises in vanillin flavours for the food industry.


As a result of the deal, the India-headquartered chemicals major will become the third-biggest vanillin producer in the world. It will also allow the company to vertically integrate its vanillin manufacturing, which is currently spearheaded by a European subsidiary.

CFS Europe’s Ravenna plant in Italy produces catechol, the basic material used to make vanillin and ethyl-vanillin. The acquisition of Wanglong, with its 3,500-square-metre factory in Zhejiang province, will now allow CFS to improve its traceability from the raw ingredient to the finished product, the company said.

Each batch is carefully tested by our food flavorists so that we deliver our customer requirements with consistency​. 

To support future growth, CFS Wanglong will introduce relevant processes and equipment besides existing installed adequate capacity for operations. Our flavours and fragrances segment will contribute to a large portion of our business in the near future​,” the company added. 

CFS’s Vanesse and Evanil brands have a customer base both in the food and fragrance industries, with growing product ranges.  

Founded in 2015, Wanglong is a relative newcomer in the market, not least compared to CFS, which was established in 1931. Aside from vanillin, it manufactures antioxidants and performance chemicals.

In 2016, the company acquired a 65% stake in Mexico’s Dresen Quimica, along with its group companies, for US$7.8m in cash.

In the last financial year, it reported a net loss of INR4.3bn (US$66.5m) on total income of INR549bn.

Related topics: Policy, China, Food safety